Boat Building 2011
Over the winter
season, Chevalier Lodge, nestled near the woods in the northern part of campus,
has been home to one of the most exclusive activities offered at Berkshire
School: Boat Building.
Mr. Giles, the course instructor, guides a few students as they build
full-scale boats. At the end of the school year, the students take their boats
home and get to use them.
All of the boats
are built from scratch. While building their boats, the students learn a
variety of skills such as how to operate wood working tools, properties of
different woods, and techniques on constructing a large project. At the
beginning, the students confer with Mr. Giles to come up with plans for their
boat. Students get to cut out the ribs and stringers, along with other features
for the boat, and eventually piece together a skeleton. One of the last steps
involves covering the boat with a canvas, a process that lends the term “skin on frame”
its name. The boat is relatively lightweight when finished.
This year, three
students participated in the activity: Sam Cabot '13, Wesley Lickus '13 and Lewis Xie '13. Two boats were
made, a 13-foot sailboat and a 10-foot kayak.
It is very
interesting to actually make a craft by hand. Today, many boats are made of fiberglass,
making the skin on frame design unique. The process is an old technique and requires
a lot of work. The students, though, have a lot of fun helping each other build
their boats and there is much satisfaction when the final product is done.
teaches Geometry and Algebra and also coaches track. He has had much
experience in woodworking and has instructed Boat Building for six years. He
has assisted students in building canoes, kayaks, and for the first time, a
sailboat. Last year, 6 students participated and 3 boats were built.
boats are on exhibit in the atrium of Berkshire Hall. The course is a lot of fun
and the students are proud of what they can make.
-- Sam Cabot ‘13